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Delivery Chronicles – Mr. Russell and the Kruger

[Russel McLaughlins birthday cake]

Cake deliveries can always be stressful, but they can also be major fun! We’ve lost count with the number of deliveries we’ve done, but there are a few that stand out! Today I’m going to tell you about the time that Mary ordered a cake for the well-known international photographer Russell McLaughlin (look. at some point during this delivery, I wasn’t McLaugh’in no more)

I got a phone call from Mary who wanted to order a cake all the way out of the United States for Mr. Russell which was very exciting! We’ve had a many international orders so to be able to add this one to our track record was awesome! All the details were finalized, the factory team was well on schedule and the delivery plan on track. Mr. Russell’s cake had to be delivered at a Mala Mala private game reserve in the Kruger National Park given that he is a well-known photographer and filmmaker. All set we are off to the Kruger with cake and cupcakes!

Mom and I left early in the morning with the cake on my lap and the cupcakes in the boot, the road was smooth, the cake standing strong and our moods high; until we had to slack down for one or two pot-holes which we all know is a norm these days. We decided to stop for a quick brunch at Sleepers Railway Station – an old train station in Hoedspruit seeing that we are on an adventure. We had a great meal and great coffee – both mom and I had 2 large cappuccinos and so we ready for the exciting trip ahead. We were back up to speed and the road a bit shaky, but nothing too serious until the brakes slammed, the car airborne and the cake in mid-air. My heart skipped a few beats, because at this point, I realized that I’m not holding the cake in my hands anymore, not to mention the poor little cupcakes in the boot. Like all good things have to come to an end we had a hard landing and the radio’s volume was turned down. Mom and I catched our breaths and realized we are in Thulamahashe a township within the Bushbuckridge area. The cake was fine, but I was worried about the cupcakes. We decided to carry on driving carefully until we were in a safer area to check if the cupcakes and car tires survived.

When we were about to stop a group of small little village boys came running frantically towards us from the bushes with spades and shovels in their hands. We were not sure what to make of this situation so we decided to rather carry-on driving until one of the little boys jump in front of the car and directed us to another side of the road, because they were filling up the pot-holes with sand. We weren’t too sure what his intention was as well as what could be on the other side of the road so mom continued to drive. At this point I was still trying to see if the cake had any damages, I looked up and all I saw was a little boy with big eyes looking very worried that jumped out of the road screaming hysterically. We eventually stopped and checked on the cupcakes (luckily, they survived the flight) and again we heard the same group of little village boys with their spades and shovels running towards us screaming… I don’t think it was a good idea to keep driving and having their fellow villager take a leap of faith to let us pass. We ran back to the car, got in, locked the door and drove off as fast as we could only to be greeted by another intense and deep pot-hole and the little boys getting closer and closer. we managed to get our of the deep pot-hole and with lots of luck we managed to get away quickly before the angry boys could reach us.

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I can’t think that the GPS would take us on such a bad road and I highly doubt that the tourists have to use this road, but we had to continue because we did not have any signal to search for an alternative route… At last, we saw a Sunbake truck on the same road in between the township houses – we have to be on the right path, perhaps we are using the service road?

Eventually we got signal after being on the road for 5 hours and realized we were driving a massive loop around the entire Kruger National Park and ended up 100km from the Mozambique border, we turned around and headed back to the Kruger gate to go to the Mala Mala game reserve where Mr. Russell is staying. We arrived at the Sabie gate and waited in the very long que to get to the security at the gate. To our surprise the security didn’t allow us in, because we weren’t too sure of the directions to the game reserve and they didn’t want us to get lost so he called Vusi the Lodge manager and told us that Russell is filming in Hoedspruit for the day which we passed through two and a half hours ago and that his reservations are only booked for the following day. I decided to call Mary who was still asleep by this time (sorry Mary) and we realized that with the different time zones the dates got mixed up. she ordered a day in advance. Well. Happy early birthday Russell we’re on our way back to Hoedspruit.

The cake was starting to melt at this point (we all know that cakes aren’t made to stay in a hot car for 5 hours) so we got directions for better road back. The coffee we had in the morning was starting work through our systems and there was a zero percent chance of any bathroom nearby. Change of plans (and directions) we decided to find the nearest mall and so after an hours’ drive and lots of talking to distract ourselves we got the Thulamahashe Mall. The cake was not in too good of a shape, but it is what it is and we managed to get a second wind and we were back on track. In the mean time Vusi arranged with Mr. Russell that we are well on our way and he should not go too far, I managed to fix the cake with extra sprinkles here and there, but nothing too extravagant.

We got to the local garage in Hoedspruit and could finally complete our delivery and give Russell his birthday cake and cupcakes from Mary. Russell was very very happy with his cake and his smile got even wider when he heard who ordered the cake. (I think it was more about the sentimental aspects rather than looks wise).

After a long and tiring day mom and I headed back home and, in the end, Mr. Russell was happy, Mary was still fast asleep, Vusi checked up to make sure we are safely home, the village boys at ease and the cake made it in one piece. We had a good long 12 hours on the road, but today we live to tell the tale of the time we ended up in the middle of no-where, frightened a village boy, flew in a car, smashed cupcakes and discovered a mall in the middle of a rural township.

I hope you enjoyed this story – if you did, please share it with a friend, because who-knows one day you might just end up in the same situation. My advice. Just enjoy the moment and laugh it off.

The Sweetest Moments In Life Are The Best.

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